ICv2 recently spoke with
In Part One, he talks about manga source material for Viz Productions films and how those films could work in both domestic and international markets. In Part Two, he discusses possibilities for licensing to studios vs. producing in-house and decisions about format and distribution.
You’re focused on making American productions. To what degree do markets outside of
I don’t know the exact percentage, but I believe the way the pie is cut up is that the rest of the world outside of
We feel like the movies have to appeal to a domestic
And by the way, we’re going to be having specific announcements about movie deals, in the relatively near future.
To put this in context, when Marvel talks about their film efforts, they talk about the size of their library and how many characters they have. Do you have any sense of how many characters or properties are available from the libraries you’re drawing from?
We are finding some classic manga properties that may be buried deep somewhere in the Shogakukan library that are beloved (and may even be out of print) that would make amazing American movie adaptations. There’s so much rich content going back decades. Also we’re finding that there are new properties that are just being launched in
There are thousands of different manga titles that our corporate parents have published. I’m sure this is one of the largest pools of largely untapped--at least in the
Hakusensha is not an owner of the production company, but you have access to titles for movie and TV rights?
That is our understanding.
Does that include the rights to Fruits Basket?
I don’t know. Tokyopop publishes Fruits Basket in the
How do you think comedies and teen romance properties would work for the U.S. market?
We certainly want to do comedy. As a male in my 40s, there’s one area of our manga universe that I think is incredibly fertile for film and television and that’s the shojo titles--like Vampire Knight and Absolute Boyfriend. They’re just powerful, compelling teenage relationships. The shojo titles that are character and relationship based that exist in larger than life worlds are very appealing for film adaptation.
Monster was announced as optioned for a live action with New Line with Josh Olson writing the screenplay, is that option still out there or is the project moving forward?
I don’t know. We’re not involved with it. I know Josh was on it a few months ago, but we’re not sure what the exact status is.